Salute to our British Partners
PACBI salutes the British Committee for Universities of Palestine, BRICUP, for its decisive role in the University and College Union Congress’s overwhelming endorsement of several motions unequivocally supporting Palestinian rights; condemning Israel’s occupation and apartheid; denouncing the complicity of Israel’s academic institutions in the state’s system of oppression against the Palestinians; and adopting the logic of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel, despite intimidating legal threats.
Heeding the Palestinian calls for boycott of Israel, BRICUP has since its founding tirelessly and creatively worked to raise awareness in the UK about the entrenched complicity of Israel’s academic and cultural institutions in the state’s colonial and racist policies, advocating institutional boycott as a most effective remedy that international civil society should and can resort to in reaction. PACBI is proud to have BRICUP as its key partner in the United Kingdom.
We also recognize that the recent significant advances for the BDS movement in the UK, which evoke memories of advanced stages in the struggle against South African apartheid, could not have seen the light without the many years of principled and persistent solidarity work by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) and other solidarity groups, particularly in Scotland. Most recently, the Scottish Trade Union Congress almost unanimously adopted BDS, becoming the third major international federation of trade unions to do so, preceded only by COSATU of South Africa and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions. Several major British unions affiliated to PSC, including Unite (2 million members) and Unison (1.25M), have also adopted various forms of BDS in the last few years, indicating beyond doubt that BDS has reached the British mainstream.
The UCU’s significant step forward in adopting the logic of BDS against Israel, therefore, fits well in the context of the steadily growing British public support for effectively pressuring Israel to hold it accountable for its war crimes and persistent violation of international law. The British solidarity movement, with its long tradition and rich experience, takes the main credit for this critical shift in public opinion against Israel. It gives Palestinians hope that the end of Israel’s impunity may be nearer than previously expected.